|Area||5,221,093 km2 (2,015,875 sq mi)|
|Population density||362.3/km2 (938/sq mi)|
|GDP (nominal)||$3.3 trillion|
|GDP (PPP)||$11.6 trillion|
|GDP per capita||$1,745|
|Ethnic groups||Indo-Aryan, Dravidian, Sino-Tibetan, Austroasiatic, Iranian, etc.|
|Religions||Hinduism, Islam, Buddhism, Sikhism, Christianity, Jainism, Kirat, Ahmaddiyya|
|Internet TLD|| .af, .bd, .bt, .in,|
.lk, .mv, .np, .pk
|Calling code||Zone 8 & 9|
|UN M.49 code|
South Asia or Southern Asia, is a term used to represent the southern region of the Asian continent, which comprises the sub-Himalayan SAARC countries and, for some authorities, adjoining countries to the west and east. Topographically, it is dominated by the Indian Plate, which rises above sea level as Nepal and northern parts of India situated south of the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush. South Asia is bounded on the south by the Indian Ocean and on land (clockwise, from west) by West Asia, Central Asia, East Asia, and Southeast Asia.
South is one of the four cardinal directions or compass points. South is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to the east and west.
In geography, regions are areas that are broadly divided by physical characteristics, human impact characteristics, and the interaction of humanity and the environment. Geographic regions and sub-regions are mostly described by their imprecisely defined, and sometimes transitory boundaries, except in human geography, where jurisdiction areas such as national borders are defined in law.
Asia is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern and Northern Hemispheres. It shares the continental landmass of Eurasia with the continent of Europe and the continental landmass of Afro-Eurasia with both Europe and Africa. Asia covers an area of 44,579,000 square kilometres (17,212,000 sq mi), about 30% of Earth's total land area and 8.7% of the Earth's total surface area. The continent, which has long been home to the majority of the human population, was the site of many of the first civilizations. Asia is notable for not only its overall large size and population, but also dense and large settlements, as well as vast barely populated regions. Its 4.5 billion people constitute roughly 60% of the world's population.
The current territories of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka form South Asia.The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is an economic cooperation organisation in the region which was established in 1985 and includes all eight nations comprising South Asia.
Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in South and Central Asia. Afghanistan is bordered by Pakistan in the south and east; Iran in the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan in the north; and in the far northeast, China. Its territory covers 652,000 square kilometers (252,000 sq mi) and much of it is covered by the Hindu Kush mountain range, which experiences very cold winters. The north consists of fertile plains, whilst the south-west consists of deserts where temperatures can get very hot in summers. Kabul serves as the capital and its largest city.
Bangladesh, officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It shares land borders with India and Myanmar (Burma). The country's maritime territory in the Bay of Bengal is roughly equal to the size of its land area. Bangladesh is the world's eighth most populous country as well as its most densely-populated, to the exclusion of small island nations and city-states. Dhaka is its capital and largest city, followed by Chittagong, which has the country's largest port. Bangladesh forms the largest and easternmost part of the Bengal region. Bangladeshis include people from a range of ethnic groups and religions. Bengalis, who speak the official Bengali language, make up 98% of the population. The politically dominant Bengali Muslims make the nation the world's third largest Muslim-majority country. Islam is the official religion of Bangladesh.
Bhutan, officially the Kingdom of Bhutan, is a landlocked country in South Asia. Located in the Eastern Himalayas, it is bordered by Tibet Autonomous Region of China in the north, the Sikkim state of India and the Chumbi Valley of Tibet in the west, the Arunachal Pradesh state of India in the east, and the states of Assam and West Bengal in the south. Bhutan is geopolitically in South Asia and is the region's second least populous nation after the Maldives. Thimphu is its capital and largest city, while Phuntsholing is its financial center.
South Asia covers about 5.2 million km2 (2 million mi2), which is 11.71% of the Asian continent or 3.5% of the world's land surface area.The population of South Asia is about 1.891 billion or about one fourth of the world's population, making it both the most populous and the most densely populated geographical region in the world. Overall, it accounts for about 39.49% of Asia's population, over 24% of the world's population, and is home to a vast array of people.
Population density is a measurement of population per unit area or unit volume; it is a quantity of type number density. It is frequently applied to living organisms, and most of the time to humans. It is a key geographical term. In simple terms population density refers to the number of people living in an area per kilometer square.
In 2010, South Asia had the world's largest population of Hindus, Jains and Sikhs. It also has the largest population of Muslims in the Asia-Pacific region,as well as over 35 million Christians and 25 million Buddhists.
Hindus are persons who regard themselves as culturally, ethnically, or religiously adhering to aspects of Hinduism. Historically, the term has also been used as a geographical, cultural, and later religious identifier for people indigenous to the Indian subcontinent.
Jainism, traditionally known as Jain Dharma, is an ancient Indian religion. Followers of Jainism are called "Jains", a word derived from the Sanskrit word jina (victor) and connoting the path of victory in crossing over life's stream of rebirths through an ethical and spiritual life. Jains trace their history through a succession of twenty-four victorious saviours and teachers known as tirthankaras, with the first being Rishabhanatha, who according to Jain tradition lived millions of years ago, twenty-third being Parshvanatha in 8th century BC and twenty-fourth being the Mahāvīra around 500 BCE. Jains believe that Jainism is an eternal dharma with the tirthankaras guiding every cycle of the Jain cosmology.
Sikhs are people associated with Sikhism, a monotheistic religion that originated in the 15th century, in the Punjab region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, based on the revelation of Guru Nanak. The term "Sikh" has its origin in the Sanskrit words शिष्य, meaning a disciple, or a student. A Sikh, according to Article I of the Sikh Rehat Maryada, is "any human being who faithfully believes in One Immortal Being; ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak to Guru Gobind Singh; Guru Granth Sahib; the teachings of the ten Gurus and the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru".
The total area of South Asia and its geographical extent is not clear cut as systemic and foreign policy orientations of its constituents are quite asymmetrical.Aside from the central region of South Asia, formerly part of the British Empire, there is a high degree of variation as to which other countries are included in South Asia.
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. It originated with the overseas possessions and trading posts established by England between the late 16th and early 18th centuries. At its height, it was the largest empire in history and, for over a century, was the foremost global power. By 1913, the British Empire held sway over 412 million people, 23% of the world population at the time, and by 1920, it covered 35,500,000 km2 (13,700,000 sq mi), 24% of the Earth's total land area. As a result, its political, legal, linguistic and cultural legacy is widespread. At the peak of its power, the phrase "the empire on which the sun never sets" was often used to describe the British Empire, because its expanse around the globe meant that the sun was always shining on at least one of its territories.
Modern definitions of South Asia are consistent in including Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives as the constituent countries.Myanmar is included by some scholars in South Asia, but in Southeast Asia by others. Some do not include Afghanistan, others question whether Afghanistan should be considered a part of South Asia or the Middle East.
Myanmar, officially the Republic of the Union of Myanmar and also known as Burma, is a country in Southeast Asia. Myanmar is bordered by India and Bangladesh to its west, Thailand and Laos to its east and China to its north and northeast. To its south, about one third of Myanmar's total perimeter of 5,876 km (3,651 mi) forms an uninterrupted coastline of 1,930 km (1,200 mi) along the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea. The country's 2014 census counted the population to be 51 million people. As of 2017, the population is about 54 million. Myanmar is 676,578 square kilometres in size. Its capital city is Naypyidaw, and its largest city and former capital is Yangon (Rangoon). Myanmar has been a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) since 1997.
The current territories of Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan, which were the core of the British Empire from 1857 to 1947, form the central region of South Asia, in addition to Afghanistan,which was a British protectorate until 1919, after the Afghans lost to the British in the Second Anglo-Afghan war. The mountain countries of Nepal and Bhutan, and the island countries of Sri Lanka and Maldives are generally included as well. Myanmar (formerly Burma) is often added, and by various deviating definitions based on often substantially different reasons, the British Indian Ocean Territory and the Tibet Autonomous Region are included as well.
The common concept of South Asia is largely inherited from the administrative boundaries of the British Raj,with several exceptions. The Aden Colony, British Somaliland and Singapore, though administered at various times under the Raj, have not been proposed as any part of South Asia. Additionally Burma was administered as part of the Raj until 1937, but is now considered a part of Southeast Asia and is a member state of ASEAN. The 562 princely states that were protected by but not directly ruled by the Raj became administrative parts of South Asia upon joining Union of India or Dominion of Pakistan. Geopolitically, it had formed the whole territory of Greater India,
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), a contiguous block of countries, started in 1985 with seven countries –Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka –and added Afghanistan as an eighth member in 2007. China and Myanmar have also applied for the status of full members of SAARC. This bloc of countries include two independent countries that were not part of the British Raj – Nepal, and Bhutan. Afghanistan was a British protectorate from 1878 until 1919, after the Afghans lost to the British in the Second Anglo-Afghan war. The World Factbook, based on geo-politics, people, and economy defines South Asia as comprising Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, British Indian Ocean Territory, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. The South Asia Free Trade Agreement incorporated Afghanistan in 2011, and the World Bank grouping of countries in the region also includes all eight members comprising South Asia and SAARC as well, and the same goes for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).
The United Nations Statistics Division's scheme of sub-regions include all eight members of the SAARC as part of Southern Asia, along with Iranonly for statistical purposes. Population Information Network (POPIN) includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Burma, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka as part of South Asia. Maldives, in view of its characteristics, was admitted as a member Pacific POPIN subregional network only in principle. The Hirschman–Herfindahl index of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific for the region includes only the original seven signatories of SAARC.
The British Indian Ocean Territory is connected to the region by a publication of Jane's for security considerations.The region may also include the disputed territory of Aksai Chin, which was part of the British Indian princely state of Jammu and Kashmir, but is now administered as part of the Chinese autonomous region of Xinjiang.
The inclusion of Myanmar in South Asia is without consensus, with many considering it a part of Southeast Asia and others including it within South Asia.Afghanistan was of importance to the British colonial empire, especially after the Second Anglo-Afghan War over 1878–1880. Afghanistan remained a British protectorate until 1919, when a treaty with Vladimir Lenin included the granting of independence to Afghanistan. Following India's partition, Afghanistan has generally been included in South Asia, with some considering it a part of Southwest Asia. During the Soviet–Afghan War (1979–1989) American foreign policy considered Pakistan and Afghanistan in Southwest Asia, while others included it as a part of South Asia. There is no universal agreement among scholars on which countries should be included within South Asia.
In the past, a lack of a coherent definition for South Asia resulted in not only a lack of academic studies, but also in a lack interest for such studies.The confusion existed also because of the lack of a clear boundary – geographically, geopolitical, socio-culturally, economically or historically – between South Asia and other parts of Asia, especially the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Identification with a South Asian identity was also found to be significantly low among respondents in an older two-year survey across Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. However, modern definitions of South Asia are very consistent in including Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives as the constituent countries.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term "subcontinent" signifies a "subdivision of a continent which has a distinct geographical, political, or cultural identity" and also a "large land mass somewhat smaller than a continent".Historians Catherine Asher and Cynthia Talbot state that the term "Indian subcontinent" describes a natural physical landmass in South Asia that has been relatively isolated from the rest of Eurasia. The Indian subcontinent is also a geological term referring to the land mass that drifted northeastwards from ancient Gondwana, colliding with the Eurasian plate nearly 55 million years ago, towards the end of Palaeocene. This geological region largely includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The use of the term Indian subcontinent began in the British Empire, and has been a term particularly common in its successors.This region has also been labelled as "India" (in its classical and pre-modern sense), "Greater India", or as South Asia.
According to anthropologist John R. Lukacs, "the Indian Subcontinent occupies the major landmass of South Asia",while the political science professor Tatu Vanhanen states, "the seven countries of South Asia constitute geographically a compact region around the Indian Subcontinent". According to Chris Brewster, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan constitute the Indian subcontinent; with Afghanistan and Maldives included it is more commonly referred to as South Asia. The geopolitical boundaries of Indian subcontinent, according to Dhavendra Kumar, include "India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and other small islands of the Indian Ocean". Maldives, the country consisting of a small archipelago southwest of the peninsula, is considered part of the Indian subcontinent.
The terms "Indian subcontinent" and "South Asia" are sometimes used interchangeably.The South Asia term is particularly common when scholars or officials seek to differentiate this region from East Asia. According to historians Sugata Bose and Ayesha Jalal, the Indian subcontinent has come to be known as South Asia "in more recent and neutral parlance." This "neutral" notion refers to the concerns of Pakistan and Bangladesh, particularly given the recurring conflicts between India and Pakistan, wherein the dominant placement of "India" as a prefix before the subcontinent might offend some political sentiments.
There is no globally accepted definition on which countries are a part of South Asia or Indian subcontinent.While Afghanistan is not considered as a part of the Indian subcontinent, Afghanistan is often included in South Asia. Similarly, Myanmar is included by some scholars in South Asia but not in Indian subcontinent.
The history of core South Asia begins with evidence of human activity of Homo sapiens, as long as 75,000 years ago, or with earlier hominids including Homo erectus from about 500,000 years ago.The Indus Valley Civilization, which spread and flourished in the northwestern part of South Asia from c. 3300 to 1300 BCE in present-day Northern India, Pakistan and Afghanistan, was the first major civilization in South Asia. A sophisticated and technologically advanced urban culture developed in the Mature Harappan period, from 2600 to 1900 BCE.
The earliest prehistoric culture have roots in the mesolithic sites as evidenced by the rock paintings of Bhimbetka rock shelters dating to a period of 30,000 BCE or older,as well as neolithic times. According to anthropologist Possehl, the Indus Valley Civilization provides a logical, if somewhat arbitrary, starting point for South Asian religions, but these links from the Indus religion to later-day South Asian traditions are subject to scholarly dispute.
The Vedic period, named after the Vedic religion of the Indo-Aryans,lasted from c. 1900 to 500 BCE. The Indo-Aryans were pastoralists who migrated into north-western India after the collapse of the Indus Valley Civilization, Linguistic and archaeological data show a cultural change after 1500 BCE, with the linguistic and religious data clearly showing links with Indo-European languages and religion. By about 1200 BCE, the Vedic culture and agrarian lifestyle was established in the northwest and northern Gangetic plain of South Asia. Rudimentary state-forms appeared, of which the Kuru-Pañcāla union was the most influential. The first recorded state-level society in South Asia existed around 1000 BCE. In this period, states Samuel, emerged the Brahmana and Aranyaka layers of Vedic texts, which merged into the earliest Upanishads. These texts began to ask the meaning of a ritual, adding increasing levels of philosophical and metaphysical speculation, or "Hindu synthesis".
Increasing urbanisation of India between 800 and 400 BCE, and possibly the spread of urban diseases, contributed to the rise of ascetic movements and of new ideas which challenged the orthodox Brahmanism.These ideas led to Sramana movements, of which Mahavira (c. 549–477 BCE), proponent of Jainism, and Buddha (c. 563-483), founder of Buddhism, were the most prominent icons.
The Greek army led by Alexander the Great stayed in the Hindu Kush region of South Asia for several years and then later moved into the Indus valley region. Later, the Maurya Empire extended over much of South Asia in the 3rd century BCE. Buddhism spread beyond south Asia, through northwest into Central Asia. The Bamiyan Buddhas of Afghanistan and the edicts of Aśoka suggest that the Buddhist monks spread Buddhism (Dharma) in eastern provinces of the Seleucid Empire, and possibly even farther into West Asia.The Theravada school spread south from India in the 3rd century BCE, to Sri Lanka, later to Southeast Asia. Buddhism, by the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE, was prominent in the Himalayan region, Gandhara, Hindu Kush region and Bactria.
From about 500 BCE through about 300 CE, the Vedic-Brahmanic synthesis or "Hindu synthesis" continued.Classical Hindu and Sramanic (particularly Buddhist) ideas spread within South Asia, as well outside South Asia. The Gupta Empire ruled over a large part of the region between 4th and 7th centuries, a period that saw the construction of major temples, monasteries and universities such as the Nalanda. During this era, and through the 10th century, numerous cave monasteries and temples such as the Ajanta Caves, Badami cave temples and Ellora Caves were built in South Asia.
Islam came as a political power in the fringe of South Asia in 8th century CE when the Arab general Muhammad bin Qasim conquered Sindh and Multan in southern Punjab in modern-day Pakistan.By 962 CE, Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms in South Asia were under a wave of raids from Muslim armies from Central Asia. Among them was Mahmud of Ghazni, who raided and plundered kingdoms in north India from east of the Indus river to west of Yamuna river seventeen times between 997 and 1030. Mahmud of Ghazni raided the treasuries but retracted each time, only extending Islamic rule into western Punjab.
The wave of raids on north Indian and western Indian kingdoms by Muslim warlords continued after Mahmud of Ghazni, plundering and looting these kingdoms.The raids did not establish or extend permanent boundaries of their Islamic kingdoms. The Ghurid Sultan Mu'izz al-Din Muhammad began a systematic war of expansion into north India in 1173. He sought to carve out a principality for himself by expanding the Islamic world. Mu'izz sought a Sunni Islamic kingdom of his own extending east of the Indus river, and he thus laid the foundation for the Muslim kingdom that became the Delhi Sultanate. Some historians chronicle the Delhi Sultanate from 1192 due to the presence and geographical claims of Mu'izz al-Din in South Asia by that time. The Delhi Sultanate covered varying parts of South Asia, and was ruled by a series of dynasties, called Mamluk, Khalji, Tughlaq, Sayyid and Lodi dynasties. Muhammad bin Tughlaq came to power in 1325, launched a war of expansion and the Delhi Sultanate reached it largest geographical reach over the South Asian region during his 26-year rule. A Sunni Sultan, Muhammad bin Tughlaq persecuted non-Muslims such as Hindus, as well as non-Sunni Muslims such as Shia and Mahdi sects.
Revolts against the Delhi Sultanate sprang up in many parts of South Asia during the 14th century. After the death of Muhammad bin Tughlaq, the Bengal Sultanate came to power in 1352 CE, as the Delhi Sultanate began disintegrating. The Bengal Sultanate remained in power through the early 16th century. It was reconquered by the armies of the Mughal Empire. The state religion of the Bengal Sultanate was Islam, and the region under its rule, a region that ultimately emerged as the modern nation of Bangladesh, saw a growth of a syncretic form of Islam.In the Deccan region, the Hindu kingdom Vijayanagara Empire came to power in 1336 and remained in power through the 16th century, after which it too was reconquered and absorbed into the Mughal Empire.
About 1526, the Punjab governor Dawlat Khan Lodī reached out to the Mughal Babur and invited him to attack Delhi Sultanate. Babur defeated and killed Ibrahim Lodi in the Battle of Panipat in 1526. The death of Ibrahim Lodi ended the Delhi Sultanate, and the Mughal Empire replaced it.
The modern history period of South Asia, that is 16th-century onwards, witnessed the start of the Central Asian dynasty named the Mughals, with Turkish-Mongol roots and Sunni Islam theology. The first ruler was Babur, whose empire extended the northwest and Indo-Gangetic Plain regions of South Asia. The Deccan and northeastern region of the South Asia was largely under Hindu kings such as those of Vijayanagara Empire and Ahom kingdom,with some regions such as parts of modern Telangana and Andhra Pradesh under local Sultanates such as the Shia Islamic rulers of Golconda Sultanate.
The Mughal Empire continued its wars of expansion after Babur's death. With the fall of Rajput kingdoms and Vijayanagara, its boundaries reached all of west, as well as the Marathi and Kannada speaking regions of the Deccan peninsula. The Mughal Empire was marked by a period of artistic exchanges and a Central Asian and South Asian architecture synthesis, with remarkable buildings such as the Taj Mahal.It also marked an extended period of religious persecution. Two of the religious leaders of Sikhism, Guru Arjan and Guru Tegh Bahadur were arrested under orders of the Mughal emperors, asked to convert to Islam, and executed when they refused. Religious taxes on non-Muslims called jizya were imposed. Buddhist, Hindu and Sikh temples were desecrated. However, not all Muslim rulers persecuted non-Muslims. Akbar, a Mughal ruler for example, sought religious tolerance and abolished jizya. After his death, the persecution of non-Muslims in South Asia returned. The persecution and religious violence in South Asia peaked during Aurangzeb era, with him issuing orders in 1669, to all his governors of provinces to "destroy with a willing hand the schools and temples of the infidels, and that they were strictly enjoined to put an entire stop to the teaching and practice of idolatrous forms of worship". In Aurangzeb's time, almost all of South Asia was claimed by the Mughal Empire. However, this claim was violently challenged in various regions of South Asia, particularly by the Sikh Guru Gobind Singh in the northwest, and by Shivaji in the Deccan regions.
Maritime trading between South Asia and European merchants began after the Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama returned to Europe. After the death of Aurangzeb and the collapse of the Mughal Empire, the region came under the rule of many small Islamic sultanates and Hindu kingdoms. British, French, Portuguese colonial interests struck treaties with these rulers, and established their trading ports. In northwest South Asia, a large region was consolidated into the Sikh Empire by Ranjit Singh.After his death, the British Empire expanded their interests till the Hindu Kush region. In the east, the Bengal region was split into Muslim East Bengal and Hindu West Bengal, by the colonial British empire, in early 1900s, a split that was reversed. However, after the World War II, at the eve of India's independence, the region was split again into East Pakistan and West Bengal. East Pakistan became Bangladesh in 1971.
According to Saul Cohen, early colonial era strategists treated South Asia with East Asia, but in reality the South Asia region excluding Afghanistan is a distinct geopolitical region separated from other nearby geostrategic realms, one that is geographically diverse. –the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea –and has acutely varied climate zones. The tip of the Indian Peninsula had the highest quality pearls.The region is home to a variety of geographical features, such as glaciers, rainforests, valleys, deserts, and grasslands that are typical of much larger continents. It is surrounded by three water bodies
The boundaries of South Asia vary based on how the region is defined. South Asia's northern, eastern, and western boundaries vary based on definitions used, while the Indian Ocean is the southern periphery. Most of this region rests on the Indian Plate and is isolated from the rest of Asia by mountain barriers.Much of the region consists of a peninsula in south-central Asia, rather resembling a diamond which is delineated by the Himalayas on the north, the Hindu Kush in the west, and the Arakanese in the east, and which extends southward into the Indian Ocean with the Arabian Sea to the southwest and the Bay of Bengal to the southeast.
According to Robert M. Cutler – a scholar of Political Science at Carleton University,the terms South Asia, Southwest Asia and Central Asia are distinct, but the confusion and disagreements have arisen due to the geopolitical movement to enlarge these regions into Greater South Asia, Greater Southwest Asia and Greater Central Asia. The frontier of Greater South Asia, states Cutler, between 2001–2006 has been geopolitically extended to eastern Iran and western Afghanistan in the west, and in the north to northeastern Iran, northern Afghanistan, and southern Uzbekistan.
Most of this region is resting on the Indian Plate, the northerly portion of the Indo-Australian Plate, separated from the rest of the Eurasian Plate. The Indian Plate includes most of South Asia, forming a land mass which extends from the Himalayas into a portion of the basin under the Indian Ocean, including parts of South China and Eastern Indonesia, as well as Kunlun and Karakoram ranges,and extending up to but not including Ladakh, Kohistan, the Hindu Kush range and Balochistan. It may be noted that geophysically the Yarlung Tsangpo River in Tibet is situated at the outside of the border of the regional structure, while the Pamir Mountains in Tajikistan are situated inside that border.
It was once a small continent before colliding with the Eurasian Plate about 50–55 million years ago and giving birth to the Himalayan range and the Tibetan plateau. It is the peninsular region south of the Himalayas and Kuen Lun mountain ranges and east of the Indus River and the Iranian Plateau, extending southward into the Indian Ocean between the Arabian Sea (to the southwest) and the Bay of Bengal (to the southeast).
The climate of this vast region varies considerably from area to area from tropical monsoon in the south to temperate in the north. The variety is influenced by not only the altitude, but also by factors such as proximity to the sea coast and the seasonal impact of the monsoons. Southern parts are mostly hot in summers and receive rain during monsoon periods. The northern belt of Indo-Gangetic plains also is hot in summer, but cooler in winter. The mountainous north is colder and receives snowfall at higher altitudes of Himalayan ranges.
As the Himalayas block the north-Asian bitter cold winds, the temperatures are considerably moderate in the plains down below. For most part, the climate of the region is called the Monsoon climate, which keeps the region humid during summer and dry during winter, and favours the cultivation of jute, tea, rice, and various vegetables in this region.
South Asia is largely divided into four broad climate zones:
Maximum relative humidity of over 80% has been recorded in Khasi and Jaintia Hills and Sri Lanka, while the area adjustment to Pakistan and western India records lower than 20%–30%.Climate of South Asia is largely characterized by monsoons. South Asia depends critically on monsoon rainfall. Two monsoon systems exist in the region:
The warmest period of the year precedes the monsoon season (March to mid June). In the summer the low pressures are centered over the Indus-Gangetic Plain and high wind from the Indian Ocean blows towards the center. The monsoons are second coolest season of the year because of high humidity and cloud covering. But, at the beginning of June the jetstreams vanish above the Tibetan Plateau, low pressure over the Indus Valley deepens and the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) moves in. The change is violent. Moderately vigorous monsoon depressions form in the Bay of Bengal and make landfall from June to September.
| Country ||Capital|| Area |
| Population |
| Density |
| Nominal GDP |
|GDP per capita||HDI|
|New Delhi||3,287,263||1,354,051,854||408.4||$2,450 billion||$1,850||0.624|
This list includes dependent territories within their sovereign states (including uninhabited territories), but does not include claims on Antarctica. EEZ+TIA is exclusive economic zone (EEZ) plus total internal area (TIA) which includes land and internal waters.
|Name of country/region, with flag|| Area |
|Population|| Population density |
|Capital or Secretariat||Currency||Countries included||Official languages||Coat of Arms|
|Core Definition (above) of South Asia||5,220,460||1,726,907,000||330.79||N/A||N/A||Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka||N/A||N/A|
|UNSD of South Asia||6,778,083||1,702,000,000||270.77||N/A||N/A||Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Iran, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka||N/A||N/A|
|SAARC||4,637,469||1,626,000,000||350.6||Kathmandu||N/A||Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka||English||N/A|
|BBIN||3,499,559||1,465,236,000||418.69||N/A||N/A||Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal||N/A||N/A|
|SASEC||3,565,467||1,485,909,931||416.75||N/A||N/A||Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives||N/A||N/A|
The population of South Asia is about 1.749 billion which makes it the most populated region in the world.It is socially very mixed, consisting of many language groups and religions, and social practices in one region that are vastly different from those in another.
South Asia is home to some of the most populated cities in the world. Delhi, Karachi, Mumbai, and Dhaka are four of the world's largest megacities.
|Rank||City||Province/State||Country||Population||Area (km2)||Density (/km2)||Classification|
|1||Delhi||National Capital Region||24,998,000||2,072||12,100||Capital region|
|4||Dhaka||Dhaka Division||15,669,000||360||43,500||City corporation|
There are numerous languages in South Asia. The spoken languages of the region are largely based on geography and shared across religious boundaries, but the written script is sharply divided by religious boundaries. In particular, Muslims of South Asia such as in Afghanistan and Pakistan use the Arabic alphabet and Persian Nastaliq. Till 1971, Muslim Bangladesh (then known as East Pakistan) too mandated only the Nastaliq script, but thereafter has adopted regional scripts and particularly Bengali. Non-Muslims of South Asia, and some Muslims in India, on the other hand use their traditional ancient heritage scripts such as those derived from Brahmi script for Indo-European languages and non-Brahmi scripts for Dravidian languages and others.
The Nagari script has been the primus inter pares of the traditional South Asian scripts.The Devanagari script is used for over 120 South Asian languages, including Hindi, Marathi, Nepali, Pali, Konkani, Bodo, Sindhi and Maithili among other languages and dialects, making it one of the most used and adopted writing systems in the world. The Devanagari script is also used for classical Sanskrit texts.
The largest spoken language in this region is Hindi, followed by Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Gujarati and Punjabi.In the modern era, new syncretic languages developed in the region such as Urdu that is used by Muslim community of northern south Asia (particularly Pakistan and northern states of India). The Punjabi language spans three religions: Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism. The spoken language is similar, but it is written in three scripts. The Sikh use Gurmukhi alphabet, Muslim Punjabis in Pakistan use the Nastaliq script, while Hindu Punjabis in India use the Gurmukhi or Nāgarī script. The Gurmukhi and Nagari scripts are distinct but close in their structure, but the Persian Nastaliq script is very different.
English, with British spelling, is commonly used in urban areas and is a major economic lingua franca of South Asia.
In 2010, South Asia had the world's largest population of Hindus, Jains and Sikhs,about 510 million Muslims, as well as over 25 million Buddhists and 35 million Christians. Hindus make up about 68 percent or about 900 million and Muslims at 31 percent or 510 million of the overall South Asia population, while Buddhists, Jains, Christians and Sikhs constitute most of the rest. The Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, Sikhs and Christians are concentrated in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, while the Muslims are concentrated in Afghanistan (99%), Bangladesh (90%), Pakistan (96%) and Maldives (100%).
Indian religions are the religions that originated in the India; namely Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism and Sikhism.The Indian religions are distinct yet share terminology, concepts, goals and ideas, and from South Asia spread into East Asia and southeast Asia. Early Christianity and Islam were introduced into coastal regions of South Asia by merchants who settled among the local populations. Later Sindh, Balochistan, and parts of the Punjab region saw conquest by the Arab caliphates along with an influx of Muslims from Persia and Central Asia, which resulted in spread of both Shia and Sunni Islam in parts of northwestern region of South Asia. Subsequently, under the influence of Muslim rulers of the Islamic sultanates and the Mughal Empire, Islam spread in South Asia.
|Afghanistan||Islam (99%), Hinduism, Sikhism and Christianity (1%)|
|Bangladesh||Islam (90%), Hinduism (9%), Buddhism (0.6%), Christianity (0.3%), Others (0.1%)|
|Bhutan||Buddhism (75%), Hinduism (25%)|
|India||Hinduism (79.8%), Islam (14.5%), Christianity (2.3%), Sikhism (1.7%), Buddhism (0.7%), Jainism (0.4%), Others (0.9%)|
|Maldives||Sunni Islam (100%) (One must be a Sunni Muslim to be a citizen on the Maldives )|
|Nepal||Hinduism (82%), Buddhism (9.0%), Islam (4.4%), Kirat (3.1%), Christianity (1.4%), Others (0.8%)|
|Pakistan||Islam (96.28%), Hinduism (2%), Christianity (1.59%), Ahmaddiyya (0.22%)|
|Sri Lanka||Buddhism (70.19%), Hinduism (12.61%), Islam (9.71%), Christianity (7.45%).|
India is the largest and fastest growing economy in the region (US$2.957 trillion) and makes up almost 85% of the South Asian economy; it is the world's 7th largest in nominal terms and 3rd largest by purchasing power adjusted exchange rates (US$8.020 trillion).India is the only member of powerful G-20 major economies and BRICS from the region. It is the fastest growing major economy in the world and one of the world's fastest registering a growth of 7.3% in FY 2014–15. Pakistan has the next largest economy($304.3 billion) and the 5th highest GDP per capita in the region, followed by Bangladesh and then by Sri Lanka which has the 2nd highest per capita and is the 4th largest economy in the region. According to a World Bank report in 2015, driven by a strong expansion in India, coupled with favorable oil prices, from the last quarter of 2014 South Asia become the fastest-growing region in the world
The Major Market stock exchanges in the region are Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) with market Capitalization of $2.298 trillion (11th largest in the world), National Stock Exchange of India (NSE) with market capitalization of $2.273 trillion (12th largest in the world), Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) and Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) with market capitalization of $72 billion.Economic data is sourced from the International Monetary Fund, current as of April 2017, and is given in US dollars.
| Country ||Currency|| Population |
| Nominal GDP |
|GDP per capita||GDP growth||Inflation|
|؋ Afghani||34,169,169||$20.57 billion||$559||3%||6%|
|৳ Taka||164,827,718||$285.817 billion||$1,754||7.28%||5.44%|
|Nu. Ngultrum||792,877||$2.31 billion||$2,870||5.9%||4.1%|
|₹ Indian Rupee||1,342,512,706||$2,450 billion||$1,850||8.2%||4.8%|
|ރ Rufiyaa||375,867||$3.58 billion||$9,950||4.1%||2.5%|
|रु Rupee||29,187,037||$24.64 billion||$865||7.7%||6.7%|
|₨ Rupee||207,774,520||$304.4 billion||$1,629||5%||4.3%|
|රු/ரூ Rupee||20,905,335||$84.02 billion||$3,930||4.5%||5.8%|
|Population undernourished (2015)||26.8%||16.4%||N/A||15.2%||5.2%||7.8%||22%||22%|
|Population below poverty line (CIA Factbook)||35.8%||31.5%||12%||29.8%||16%||25.2%||22.3%||8.9%|
According to WHO, South Asia is home to two out of the three countries in the world still affected by polio, Pakistan and Afghanistan, with 306 & 28 polio cases registered in 2014 respectively.Attempts to eradicate polio have been badly hit by opposition from militants in both countries, who say the program is cover to spy on their operations. Their attacks on immunization teams have claimed 78 lives since December 2012.
According to the World Bank's 2011 report, based on 2005 ICP PPP, about 24.6% of the South Asian population falls below the international poverty line of $1.25/day.Afghanistan and Bangladesh rank the highest, with 30.6% and 43.3% of their respective populations below the poverty line. Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka have the lowest number of people below the poverty line, with 2.4%, 1.5% and 4.1% respectively. India has lifted the most people in the region above the poverty line between 2008 and 2011, around 140 million. As of 2011, 21.9% of India's population lives below the poverty line, compared to 41.6% in 2005.
The World Bank estimates that India is one of the highest ranking countries in the world for the number of children suffering from malnutrition. The prevalence of underweight children in India is among the highest in the world, and is nearly double that of Sub Saharan Africa with dire consequences for mobility, mortality, productivity and economic growth.
According to the World Bank, 70% of the South Asian population and about 75% of South Asia's poor live in rural areas and most rely on agriculture for their livelihood –with only 16.5% of the population undernourished. In India, the malnourished comprise just over 15 percent of the population. While the number of malnourished people in neighborhood has shown a decline over the last 25 years, the number of under-nourished in Pakistan displays an upward trend.There were 28.7 million hungry in Pakistan in the 1990s –a number that has steadily increased to 41.3 million in 2015 with 22% of the population malnourished. Approximately 194.6 million people are undernourished in India, which accounts for the highest number of people suffering from hunger in any single country.according to the UN's Food and Agricultural Organisation. In 2015, approximately 281 million people in the region were malnourished. The report says that Nepal reached both the WFS target as well as MDG and is moving towards bringing down the number of undernourished people to less than 5% of the population. Bangladesh reached the MDG target with the National Food Policy framework
The 2006 report stated "the low status of women in South Asian countries and their lack of nutritional knowledge are important determinants of high prevalence of underweight children in the region". Corruption and the lack of initiative on the part of the government has been one of the major problems associated with nutrition in India. Illiteracy in villages has been found to be one of the major issues that need more government attention. The report mentioned that although there has been a reduction in malnutrition due to the Green Revolution in South Asia, there is concern that South Asia has "inadequate feeding and caring practices for young children".
|Country||Capital||Forms of government||Head of state||Head of government||Legislature||Official language||Coat of arms/ National Emblems|
|Kabul||Unitary presidential Islamic republic|| House of Elders,|
House of the People
|Dhaka||Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic||President||Prime Minister||Jatiya Sangsad||Bengali|
|Thimphu||Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy||King||Prime Minister||National Council, National Assembly||Dzongkha|
|New Delhi||Federal parliamentary constitutional republic||President||Prime Minister|| Rajya Sabha,|
|Malé||Unitary presidential constitutional republic||People's Majlis||Dhivehi|
|Kathmandu||Federal parliamentary constitutional republic||President||Prime Minister|| National Assembly,|
House of Representatives
|Islamabad||Federal parliamentary Islamic republic||President||Prime Minister|| Senate,|
|Colombo||Unitary semi-presidential constitutional republic||President||Prime Minister||Parliament||Sinhalese, Tamil, English|
|Country or region||Capital||Administrative division type||Head of government||Area (km2)||Population||Official language||Coat of arms|
|Diego Garcia||British Overseas Territory||Commissioner||54,400||2,500||English|
|Naypyidaw||Unitary parliamentary constitutional republic||State Counsellor||676,578||51,486,253||Burmese|
|Lhasa||Autonomous Region of China||Chairman||1,228,400||3,180,000||Tibetan, Mandarin|
India [ citation needed ] India has the largest population of around three times the combined population of the 6 other countries in the region. India is also the world's largest democracy India's annual defence budget for 2013–14 is $39.2 billion which is equal to the whole Pakistan's Federal budget of $39.3 billion for 2014–15.and Pakistan are the dominant political powers in the region. India is by far the largest country in the area covering around three-fourths the land area of the South Asian region.
Bangladesh is a unitary state and parliamentary democracy.Bangladesh also stands out as one of the few Muslim-majority democracies. "It is a moderate and generally secular and tolerant — though sometimes this is getting stretched at the moment — alternative to violent extremism in a very troubled part of the world", said Dan Mozena, the U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh. Although Bangladesh's legal code is secular, more citizens are embracing a conservative version of Islam, with some pushing for sharia law, analysts say. Experts say that the rise in conservatism reflects the influence of foreign-financed Islamic charities and the more austere version of Islam brought home by migrant workers in Persian Gulf countries.
Diplomacy among the countries of South Asia has been mainly driven by populist politics, with the centre-stage taken by India-Pakistan conflict ever since their independence in 1947, and then the creation of Bangladesh under tense circumstances in 1971. During the height of Cold war, the elite political leaders of Pakistan aligned with the US, while India played crucial role in forming the Non-Aligned Movement and while maintaining goodwill relations with the USSR.
Pakistan's governance is one of the most conflicted in the region. The military rule and the unstable government in Pakistan has become a concern for the South Asian region. In Nepal, the governance has struggled to come in the side of democracy and it only showed signs in the recent past, basically in the 21st century, to support the democratic system. The political situation in Sri Lanka has been dominated by an increasingly assertive Sinhalese nationalism, and the emergence of a Tamil separatist movement under LTTE, which was suppressed in May 2009. Myanmar's politics is dominated by a military Junta, which has sidelined the democratic forces led by Aung San Suu Kyi.
|Inequality-adjusted HDI (2016) (global ranking of 187)||166||141||135||127||114||142||149||65|
|Corruption Perception Index (2016) (global ranking of 168)||169||145||27||79||95||131||116||95|
|The Worldwide||Government Effectiveness||8%||24%||68%||56%||41%||13%||27%||53%|
|Political stability and absence |
|Rule of law||2%||27%||70%||56%||35%||27%||24%||60%|
|Voice and accountability||16%||31%||46%||61%||30%||33%||27%||36%|
|Population below poverty line (2011)||35.8%||31.5%||23.7%||21.9%||16%||25.2%||21.4%||8.9%|
|Primary School Enrollment||29%||90%||85%||92%||94%||96%||73%||98%|
|Secondary School Enrollment||49%||54%||78%||68%||N/A||72%||38%||96%|
Anatomically modern humans are thought to have arrived on the Indian subcontinent from Africa between 73,000 and 55,000 years ago. Settled life, which involves the transition from foraging to farming and pastoralism, began in South Asia around 7,000 BCE. At the site of Mehrgarh, Balochistan, presence can be documented of the domestication of wheat and barley, rapidly followed by that of goats, sheep, and cattle. By 4,500 BCE, settled life had become more widely prevalent, and eventually evolved into the Indus Valley Civilization, an early civilization of the Old world, contemporaneous with Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. It flourished between 2,500 BCE and 1900 BCE in what today is Pakistan and north-western India, and was noted for its urban planning, baked brick houses, elaborate drainage, and water supply.
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal Range. Today, it denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and Chinese-administered territories of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.
The Hindu Kush, also known in Ancient Greek as the Caucasus Indicus or Paropamisadae, is an 800-kilometre-long (500 mi) mountain range that stretches near the Afghan-Pakistan border, from central Afghanistan to northern Pakistan. It forms the western section of the Hindu Kush Himalayan Region (HKH). It divides the valley of the Amu Darya to the north from the Indus River valley to the south.
The history of Kashmir is intertwined with the history of the broader Indian subcontinent and the surrounding regions, comprising the areas of Central Asia, South Asia and East Asia. Historically, Kashmir referred to the Kashmir Valley. Today, it denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered state of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistan-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit–Baltistan, and the Chinese-administered regions of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.
The History of Punjab is integral to the history of the Indian subcontinent, and is intimately connected to the neighboring regions of Central Asia, the Iranian plateau and the Middle East. Punjab has often been the bridge between Central and South Asia, with Mesopotamian agriculture and Indo-European nomads gradually entering the subcontinent through the region, as well as numerous invading peoples such as Persians, Greeks, Scythians, Yuezhi, Arabs, Turco-Mongols and Afghans.
The Punjabis or Punjabi people are an ethnic group associated with the Punjab region in South Asia, specifically in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent, presently divided between Punjab, India and Punjab, Pakistan. They speak Punjabi, a language from the Indo-Aryan language family. The name Punjab literally means the land of five waters in Persian: panj ("five") āb ("waters"). The name of the region was introduced by the Turko-Persian conquerors of the Indian subcontinent. The historical Punjab region is often referred to as the breadbasket in both India and Pakistan.
Indo-Persian culture refers to those Persian aspects that have been integrated into or absorbed into the cultures of the Indian subcontinent.
Vaisakhi, also known as Baisakhi, Vaishakhi, or Vasakhi is a historical and religious festival in Sikhism. It is usually celebrated on 13 or 14 April every year.
The decline of Buddhism in the Indian subcontinent refers to a gradual process of dwindling and replacement of Buddhism in India, which ended around the 12th century. According to Lars Fogelin, this was "not a singular event, with a singular cause; it was a centuries-long process."
The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) is an agreement reached on January 6, 2004, at the 12th SAARC summit in Islamabad, Pakistan. It created a free trade area of 1.6 billion people in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The seven foreign ministers of the region signed a framework agreement on SAFTA to reduce customs duties of all traded goods to zero by the year 2016. The SAFTA agreement came into force on January 1, 2006, and is operational following the ratification of the agreement by the seven governments. SAFTA requires the developing countries in South Asia to bring their duties down to 20 percent in the first phase of the two-year period ending in 2007. In the final five-year phase ending 2012, the 20 percent duty will be reduced to zero in a series of annual cuts. The least developed nations in South Asia have an additional three years to reduce tariffs to zero. India and Pakistan ratified the treaty in 2009, whereas Afghanistan as the 8th memberstate of the SAARC ratified the SAFTA protocol on 4 May 2011.
The Sikh Empire was a major power originating in the Indian subcontinent, formed under the leadership of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who established a secular empire based in the Punjab. The empire existed from 1799, when Ranjit Singh captured Lahore, to 1849 and was forged on the foundations of the Khalsa from a collection of autonomous Sikh misls. At its peak in the 19th century, the Empire extended from the Khyber Pass in the west to western Tibet in the east, and from Mithankot in the south to Kashmir in the north. The religious demography of the Sikh Empire was Muslim (80%), Sikh (10%), Hindu (10%). The population of the empire was 3.5 million in 1831. It was the last major region of the Indian subcontinent to be annexed by the British.
Cuisine of the Indian subcontinent includes the cuisines from the Indian subcontinent comprising the traditional cuisines from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
Muslim conquests in the Indian subcontinent mainly took place from the 12th to the 16th centuries, though earlier Muslim conquests made limited inroads into modern Afghanistan and Pakistan as early as the time of the Rajput kingdoms in the 8th century. With the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate, Islam spread across large parts of the subcontinent. In 1204, Bakhtiyar Khalji led the Muslim conquest of Bengal, marking the eastern-most expansion of Islam at the time.
Bengalis, also rendered as the Bengali people, Bangalis and Bangalees, are an Indo-Aryan ethnic group native to the Bengal region in South Asia, specifically in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent, presently divided between Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura, Assam's Barak Valley, who speak Bengali, a language from the Indo-Aryan language family. The term "Bangalee" is also used to denote people of Bangladesh as a nation.
The ethno-linguistic composition of the population of South Asia, that is the nations of India, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka is highly diverse. The majority of the population fall within two large linguistic groups, Indo-Aryan and Dravidian. Indian society is traditionally divided into castes or clans, not ethnicities, and these categories have had no official status since independence in 1947, except for the scheduled castes and tribes which remain registered for the purpose of affirmative action. In today's India, the population is categorized in terms of the 1,652 mother tongues spoken.
Indians are the nationals or citizens of India, the second most populous nation in the world, containing 17.50% of the world's population. "Indian" refers to nationality, rather than a particular ethnicity or language; the Indian nationality consists of dozens of regional ethno-linguistic groups, reflecting the rich and complex history of the country. Due to emigration, the Indian diaspora is present throughout the world, notably in other parts of Asia and North America.
The Indian subcontinent is a southern region and peninsula of Asia, mostly situated on the Indian Plate and projecting southwards into the Indian Ocean from the Himalayas. Geologically, the Indian subcontinent is related to the land mass that rifted from Gondwana and merged with the Eurasian plate nearly 55 million years ago. Geographically, it is the peninsular region in south-central Asia delineated by the Himalayas in the north, the Hindu Kush in the west, and the Arakanese in the east. Politically, the Indian subcontinent includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The Punjabi diaspora refers to the descendants of ethnic Punjabis who emigrated out of the Punjab region in the northern part of the Indian subcontinent to the rest of the world. Punjabis are one of the largest ethnic groups in both the Pakistani and Indian diasporas. The Punjabi diaspora numbers around 10 million, mainly concentrated in Britain, North America, Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
Bengali Muslims are an ethnic, linguistic, and religious population who make up the majority of Bangladesh's citizens and the largest minority in the Indian states of West Bengal and Assam. They are Bengalis who adhere to Islam and speak the Bengali language. They form the largest Bengali and the second largest Muslim ethnic group in the world.
In 1346 ... what became known as the Bengal Sultanate began and continued for almost two centuries.
The Mughals traditionally had been tolerant of Hinduism ... Aurangzeb, however ... prohibited Hindus from riding horses or litters. He reintroduced the head tax non-Muslims had to pay. Aurangzeb relentlessly destroyed Hindu temples all across India.
In 1799, a process of unification was started by Ranjit Singh virtually to establish an empire ... Before his death in 1839 Rajit Singh's authority over all the conquered and subordinated territories between the river Satlej and the mountain ranges of Ladakh, Karakoram, Hindukush and Sulaiman was recognized.
World Bank Report on Malnutrition in India
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